This is what everyone should know about indoor bonsai

In recent years we have begun to see in nurseries and garden stores some small trees planted in very nice trays that had been placed inside a kind of box with a label that says: Indoor Bonsai, which often creates confusion, because … what is a bonsai?, and … why are there plants that are considered indoor?

We are going to talk about all this and much more in this special, in order to provide these miniature trees with the best care.


  • 1 What is a bonsai?
  • 2 What is an indoor bonsai?
    • 2.1 What care do you need?
      • 2.1.1 Location
      • 2.1.2 Irrigation
      • 2.1.3 Transplantation
        • How is it done?
      • 2.1.4 Pruning
      • 2.1.5 Wiring
      • 2.1.6 Subscriber

What is a bonsai?

Acer palmatum bonsai

Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) bonsai

And let’s start, of course, at the beginning. If you have just entered this fantastic world, it is completely normal to have many doubts, because nobody is born knowing. Little by little you realize that what you see on the labels of some plants sometimes does not correspond to reality, as is the case with indoor bonsai.

A bonsai is a tree or shrub, from seed, cutting or layering, that has been worked to give it a certain style and maintain it year after year . This style has not been created by humans, but is an imitation of the styles that plants adopt in their natural habitat.

For example: those that grow in areas where the wind blows strongly and/or on a regular basis, will produce abundant branches that will grow in one direction, while their trunk also develops following the wind since it does not allow it to do otherwise. mode. This, in the bonsai world, is known as the Fukinagashi (windswept) style.

Thus, not all plants called “bonsai” are bonsai, especially if they are sold in garden centers or nurseries (except, of course, specialized ones).

Another important issue is age. Can we trust the age they tell us they are? The truth is that it is practically impossible to know the age, since not even the teachers agree . Does it start counting from the moment the cutting or the layer was cut? Do you wait for it to root? Or, should it be counted when first planted in a bonsai tray? It is not known. The age of “indoor bonsai” is mostly used to make the plant itself more expensive: the taller the sellers say it is, the more expensive it will be.

What is an indoor bonsai?

Eurya Bonsai

Eurya Bonsai

When we talk about indoor bonsai we mean tropical plants, which cannot survive indoors if they are in an area where winters are cold (temperature below 0ºC). But you have to know that all plants should be grown outdoors whenever possible. They need to feel the air, the sun, the rain,… everything. The conditions that a bonsai finds inside the home are sometimes not what he would like.

In fact, the probability that we will lose it is very high. Air currents, both cold and warm, seriously harm it, weakening it. But, in addition, the substrate it carries has already fulfilled its function, that is, it has already managed to make the plant take root and grow a little. When we take it home, we must be very careful with watering, otherwise the roots will rot easily due to the substrate it has .

For all this, we are going to give you a series of tips and tricks so that you can enjoy your little tree for many, many years 🙂 .

What care do you need?

If you dare to have a bonsai (or bonsai project), take note:


You have to place it in a room where a lot of natural light enters , but which in turn is protected from drafts, such as in the living room.


Watering has to be moderate. Let it dry out a bit before watering again. Thus, it will generally be watered 3 times a week in summer and 1-2 weekly the rest of the year . Use rainwater or fresh water for this.




It depends on the species. It is usually every 2 years , but it can be every 3, or even every year. To know when it’s your tree’s turn, all you have to do is look at it: if you see roots on the surface and/or coming out of the drainage holes, then it’s time to transplant it.

The time for this will be late winter-early spring.

How is it done?

The first thing to do is prepare the substrate. There is a mixture that turns out to be very good for all species and it is the following: 70% akadama + 30% kiryuzuna, but you can also choose to change the kiryuzuna for the kanuma if it is acidophilic plants (Camellias, Gardenias) or conifers .

Once you have it, follow this step by step:

  1. Let the bonsai substrate dry well.
  2. Pull it out carefully.
  3. Clean the tray thoroughly, with a cloth dampened in water, and dry it.
  4. Place two pieces of mesh (one in each hole) and secure them with wire.
  5. Add a layer of substrate.
  6. With the help of a bonsai hook and very carefully, remove the substrate from the roots. When finished, put them (only the roots) in a container with water to be able to remove any soil that may have remained.
  7. Cut with previously disinfected scissors those roots that look black.
  8. Put it on the tray. It should be a little above the edge of the tray (0.5cm or less), and a little off the center (0.3cm or less).
  9. Attach to the tree with the wire you used for the drainage grates.
  10. Fill the tray with substrate.
  11. Water.

To make it easier for you, we attach a video that shows how it is done:


The pruning of the indoor bonsai will be done with the aim of maintaining its style. Thus, what should be done is to observe the tree from a certain distance, and see which branches have grown too much. Once you have identified them, you have to cut them with scissors previously disinfected with alcohol .

The ideal time to do it is at the end of winter, when the temperature begins to stay above 15ºC.


It is not usually necessary . The plant that is sold as bonsai already has a defined style, so that its branches are already in the right position. Otherwise, they can be wired in spring and left wired until fall. But it is convenient that you check it regularly to prevent the wire from leaving a mark on the tree.


Throughout the growing season, that is, in spring and summer, you must pay with a specific fertilizer for bonsai following the instructions specified on the package. You can also pay in autumn if you live in an area where there are no frosts, or they are weak (up to 2ºC) and short-lived.azalea bonsai

azalea bonsai

This is what everyone should know about indoor bonsai

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